DIY Music Therapy Instruments

The Covid-19 pandemic has created the new “normal” of staying home and social distancing. While we’re remaining safe and doing our part by staying indoors when possible, boredom can still strike. The pandemic has shown us how important it is to find novel, creative outlets for ourselves. 

Have you ever thought of making your own instruments at home? Well, now is your chance! Below are a few common instruments that music therapists use in our sessions. Here are a few tips and tricks on how to make your very own DIY music therapy instruments for yourself or your kiddos. 

  1. Egg Shakers

Do you have extra plastic Easter eggs laying around? If so, you’re in luck! Egg shakers are easy, portable instruments to make that sound great with any song. You will need…

-Plastic Easter eggs

-A filler (rice, popcorn seeds, dry beans, etc.)

-Tape

-Stickers (not required, but a fun addition)

Fill the plastic eggs with the filler of your choice. Be aware of the small holes that usually are found at the end of your eggs so that your filler does not sneak out. Fill one half of the egg about halfway full considering you’ll want to leave room for the filler to move around and create the “shaker” sound. You’re almost done! Make sure to seal the eggs with tape (Scotch tape works) to ensure the filler doesn’t make a mess at home. Feel free to decorate your plastic shakers afterward with colorful stickers or use markers to draw fun designs! Enjoy!

  1. Drum

We’re all rhythmic and rely on a steady beat. Take your heartbeat and breathing for example! Now you can play along to a steady beat at home with DIY drums! Check and see if you have any of these items on hand…

-Empty coffee, soup, Pringles cans (the bigger the better in my opinion!)

-Balloons (7-9in.)

-Rubber bands

It’s pretty simple…take the empty can you have available, place the balloon over the opening of the can to cover the entire circular face, and secure with a rubber band! Using numerous sizes of cans will create different sounds for each. All you need now are two items to work as drum sticks and you’re all set!

Ready for an even easier option? Leftover oversized paint buckets work perfectly! Flip them over to use the bottom as your drum face and play away. This will give the drum a deeper, louder sound compared to the “can drums” up above. Lowes and Home Depot have these available for under $5!

  1. Tambourine

The final instrument to add to your “at home band.” Tambourines are great to take on-the-go or dance around the house with. This DIY instrument is a little more complex, but still uses common, household items. Look for…

-2 Paper plates

-String/Yarn

-Hole punch

-Jingle bells

-Anything else needed to decorate

Put the two paper plates face to face while punching holes around the perimeter. Taking your yarn, weave it through a hole around the outside of the plate and back through that same hole to create a knot. Once you do this, you’ll be able to take your jingle bell and string it through the yarn. You can include a jingle bell on every hole or skip a few depending on how loud you’d like your tambourine to sound. Once you return to the original hole, tie off the yarn and you’re almost ready to play! Feel free to personalize the tambourine however you’d like! 

Ready, set, make music!